WEST PALM BEACH, FL --The 2008 "Party with the Animals"-themed South Florida Fair was an unparalleled success. Unaudited figures, released today reveal thirteen admission and revenue records were broken. Three were all time fair records; one for best-ever Sunday admission and a second for Sunday ride revenue both on January 27. The overall midway revenue total was the third record shattered with $3.56 million.
Individual daily admission revenue records were broken on Friday, January 18; Thursday, January 24; Monday, January 28 and Tuesday, January 29. Reported total attendance at the 2008 South Florida Fair was 598,281, up from the 586,550 reported in 2007.
"We were very pleased with the outcome of this year's fair", said John Picano, Marketing and Public Relations Director for the fair. "Despite an uncertain economy,
we were able to break over a dozen admission and ride revenue records. The "Party with the Animals" theme really connected with our guests as did the increased offerings in family shows and entertainment. The Wade Shows midway was a star attraction again as evidenced by the records that were established. It was a wonderful fair."
The Wade Shows midway set records for the third straight year. In addition to the overall midway revenue record, individual day revenue records were set on Friday, January 18; Saturday, January 19; Thursday, January 24; Saturday, January 26; Tuesday, January 29 and Saturday, February 2.
Frank Zaitshik, owner of Wade Shows said the show now owns every single daily and overall record for ride grosses and per capita spending at the fair with the exception of two Wednesdays.
"We were blown away how well we did our first two years here", said Zaitshik of his show's record runs at the fair. "2008 started out the same way". After a record-setting first weekend, 5 days of rainy weather in a row put revenue behind last year before the sun returned and a strong finish to the fair resulted in another record year.
Wade Shows had 90 rides on the midway in 2008, 73 games and 25 food stands. 62 of the rides were show owned with the remaining 28 chosen from a variety of the top operators in the country.
Among the independents at the event were Mike Wood, Jane Baxter, Jeremy Floyd, Dreamland Amusements, Mike Curry, Jimmy Drew with his world-famous Seattle Wheel, Wonderland Amusements and Steve Vanderhorst with his spinning coaster and 2 kiddie rides.
Zaitshik said he continued to improve the midway presentation at the South Florida Fair. The show added a new welcome area at the entrance to the midway. Dennis Gilli was brought in to freshen up the numerous photo opportunity signs on the grounds. Two rides were vinyl-wrapped, the Raiders and Choo-Choo Charlie, a process Zaitshik said worked "very well".
"We continued to fine-tune the things we put in place over the past couple of years. We have new size-wise signs, a new welcome area and every piece of neon was operational. We have some exciting new ideas to make the midway even better in '09", said Zaitshik.
Patrons were treated to increased entertainment offerings that ranged from a popular Sea Lion Splash and Live Shark Encounter to an amazing Rainforest Adventure. A Close Encounters lion and tiger show, Kachunga the Alligator show, Jungle Island Dive Show and Rosaire's Racing Pigs punctuated the popular animal theme.
Fair favorites Dennis Lee and hypnotist Mark Yuzuik performed to enthusiastic crowds together with a Grand Illusion and Escape Show starring Ridgeway and Johnson. Big crowds also enjoyed Flight of Dreams, a dazzling cirque-style show that was greeted with big, enthusiastic crowds.
Main stage entertainment included Kimberly Locke, Jars of Clay, Night Ranger, Josh Gracin, Lee Brice, Grand Fun Railroad, Blake Shelton, Candy Coburn and Saliva. Comedian Ron White played the nearby Cruzan Amphitheater.
The Youth Market Auction was another highlight, grossing over $200,000 at the fair's popular Agriplex. Entries were up in the fair's many community competitions.
Plans are already underway for the 2009 South Florida Fair that will take place January 16 - February 1.